Yoga Time?

After a particularly painful run last week, I pledged to start doing what everyone has been telling me to do for ages…stretch after a workout. (Yes, I know, I’m a bit late catching on with this one.)

It’s only been two days but so far, so good!

So did it work?

I can’t exactly claim I carried out a fair test, but, this morning my legs felt champion throughout the whole 10k. That’s more than I can say for last week!

When I returned home, I kept up the good work by using the foam roller and then having a good stretch.

On the downside, I very much doubt that I am doing anywhere near enough to improve my flexibility…

So what next?

A couple of blogs I love to read (But Can I Still Drink Wine? and No More Lettuce) have recently been posting about their new found love for Yoga.

Many, many years ago I went to a yoga class. Far from finding inner peace, I found it all a bit…well weird. The instructor was probably the most stereotypical yoga instructor you could possibly imagine. Think skinny, lentil eating male with ponytail and patterned baggy trousers. This guy ‘lived’ yoga. I just couldn’t relate at all and found myself hopelessly trying to complete the moves without collapsing in a fit of childish giggles.

Ever since, I’ve avoided yoga like the plague, always believing it just wasn’t for me.

Part of me still believes this is true…I’m not exactly a quiet, thoughtful kind of person. I’m a talking machine who lives life a 100 miles an hour. I’m always doing at least 3 things at a time (right now I’m drinking tea, eating a cupcake, watching CSI and typing this – no seriously!) I’m pretty sure that just being quiet for an entire class would be a struggle for me, let alone the fact that I am not only a total beginner but also ridiculously inflexible!

The other part of me thinks that all of the reasons above are exactly why I should be doing Yoga.

I just don’t know where to start?

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Stretching Success

limber_up

This morning I stuck to my pledge and after completing a quick 30 minute workout, I spent around 5 minutes stretching out all of the major muscle groups.

OK, so it is only day one, but I am pretty pleased with myself!

And I must confess, that it really wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. Although, I still can’t shake that ‘wimpy’ feeling.

The question in my mind now is:

“Does it really work?” Or should I say…

“To what extent does post workout stretching prevent DOMS?”

First things first, here’s the workout I did this morning (if you read my post about Tuesday’s last week then you’ll know that it doesn’t involve too much ‘moving’) :

  • 10 x Assisted Pull Ups
  • 25 x Press Ups
  • 10 x Sumo Squats (Holding 24kg Dumbell)
  • 1 Minute Plank
  • 10 Squats (60kg on Smith Machine)

REPEAT the above x 3

  • 10 x Clean and Push Press (with 8kg kettle bell in each hand)
  • 12 x Full Kettle Bell Swing (with 12kg kettle bell)
  • 30 Second Side plank on each side (lowering and lifting hips)
  • 30 Second Plank on the Swiss Ball (rolling ball in and out)

REPEAT the above x 3

Previous experience tells me that both pull ups and 60kg squats usually leave me with a pretty serious case of DOMS around 48 hours later. Which means that I am scheduled for tightness and pain on Thursday morning…. so, the exact same time that I am scheduled to run another 10k then.

But since I stretched immediately after the workout, the affects should at least be reduced, right??

I’ll let you know on Thursday….

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from some of you about your thoughts and experiences with stretching and DOMS!

Me Vs. Stretching

I hate stretching.

I also hate how terribly inflexible I am.

Yep, I can see the correlation there.

There are only two occasions when I actually stretch:

  1. When I am forced to ie. in a group exercise class.
  2. When it is already too late. ie. when I wake up the day after a tough workout and discover that I can’t sit on the toilet without wincing.

I’ve always envied the yoga babe / dancer types who can bend their slender limbs every which way with grace and ease. I on the other hand, can barely touch my toes. I wish that was an exaggeration, but it’s not. Not only that, any attempts at deep stretches usually leave me not so gracefully grunting and grimacing.

I’m sure that my flexibility, like any other area of fitness, could be improved if I were just to put the training in. So why don’t I?

Well, there are a few reasons:

  1. I’m bad at it (I realise this is a stupid reason, but I’m sure some of you will be able to relate to the fact that doing things you are no good at is not fun!)
  2. It hurts.
  3. It’s boring.
  4. It takes too long (30 seconds for each stretch, psshhhhh!)
  5. I just don’t like it, alright?!

So why do I suddenly feel like this needs to change?

Last week, after I completed the workout mentioned here, my gym buddy warned me that I should stretch afterwards. Do you know what I said?

“Pah, stretching is for wimps. I never stretch, I’ll be fine.”

I wasn’t fine. Turns out, 100 dead lifts in one session really gets those hamstrings screaming.

Thursday morning when we met for our 10k run, I was struggling, whilst she smiled the whole way.

It wasn’t just the hamstrings in the end either, other little niggles were beginning to appear here and there.  Running 6 miles in the rain at 07:00 is bad enough already without tight hamstrings, a dodgy ankle and a twinge in your knee. After 53 minutes of listening to me moaning, Gym Buddy informed me that all the little aches and pains I was experiencing were probably connected to the fact that my leg muscles are too tight. Makes sense really!

I hate the thought of  getting an injury, especially as we all know that on the days when you can’t run, the sun shines brightly and there is a gentle breeze in the air (also known as my PERFECT running conditions!)

All of this got me thinking, maybe stretching isn’t just for wimps after all…

So here is my pledge:

  1. I will make time to stretch thoroughly after every workout.
  2. I will use the evil foam roller after every run.
  3. I will never say that stretching is just for wimps ever again. Promise.

I won’t blame you if you don’t believe me, taking into account my most recent promise and subsequent failure. But trying and failing is better than never trying at all!